Movie News, Reviews and More!





































when in rome
When in Rome
Reviewer: Ricardo Barberini
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Cast: Kristen Bell, Josh Duhmel, Anjelica Huston, Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, Kate Micucci, Alexis Dziena

Back in 1954 the American director Jean Negulesco, made a movie called Three Coins in a fountain.   Little realizing that this minor movie about the Trevi fountain in Rome would become a major motion picture that would transform Rome into a major tourist destination area.  Overnight, the movie transformed the Trevi fountain into an International monument. The Italians should be paying Negulesco and his estate royalties for what he did for them.

But then again, times marches on….

When In Rome is a new movie about a fountain of love.  This is a comedy based on an absurdity like most chick flick movies.  Beth (Kristen Bell) is a hard working and successful Exhibits planner/manager at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.   While, she is a successful professional, she is unlucky with men.   She goes to Rome to attend her sister’s wedding to an Italian hunk.  She is already on the rebound from her no-good boyfriend and meets an American Journalist, Nick (Josh Duhamel.)  Under the influence of alcohol and the euphoria of the ceremony, Beth falls for him only to discover that, he seems to be involved with someone else.  In disgust with love and men, she wades into a fountain of love –not the famous Trevi but another one of many fountains in little piazzas all across Rome.  The twist is that, Instead of throwing a coin into the fountain and making a wish, she defiantly steals four coins and a gambling chip from the fountain.  Little realizing that taking those coins will make each person who threw them into the fountain to fall in love with her.  Going back to New York, Beth is confronted with five ardent suitors who pester her day and night to declare their love.  The five are a sausage tycoon, a painter, a magician, a professional model and Nick the journalist who used to be a football player. 

After a series of funny escapades, Beth discovers that by returning the coins to their original owners she can end their insane obsessions with her.   Eventually, we are treated to a series of somewhat hilarious slapstick scenes such as riding in a tiny car over sidewalks, into a building, and inside an elevator.  Finally, Beth completes her mission and marries Mr. Right!

Kristen Bell is very attractive woman, especially when dressed in red.  Her nose is a bit crooked but nowadays who wants to be perfect?  As an actor, she is mediocre.  Josh Duhamel who played in maybe a hundred of Las Vegas TV episodes is very tall and handsome and that is all that one can say about him.  He is no actor, Danny De Vito, who plays the sausage company owner, can do more acting in one scene than this guy does in the entire movie. Kate Micucci as Beth’s assistant Stacy with her bug eyes and crooked neck would have been very funny, if she was given the chance to come from under the shadows of Kristen.  She is naturally funny. Of course, Danny De Vito is excellent as usual.  I wish he was given more material in this movie.  I would have cast him as the father of Beth’s brother in law Umberto.  In the movie only Umberto’s grandmother (Judith Malina) is depicted and then as a spiteful woman.  Anjelica Houston plays herself as usual.  Nothing to write home about.  Being the daughter of one of the greatest director in the history of cinema is not easy.  People expect much more. 

The Producer/Director Mark Steven Johnson has had a limited experience as a director and/or a writer and his lack of talent shows.  He has been involved in a few movies that have been largely forgotten. The story by David Diamond and David Weissman is actually interesting and in the hands of a better director could have been crafted into a memorable movie. 

Did we get a few laughs?  Yes, but nothing major about this movie. It is funny in the same way that Abbot and Costello shorts were funny.  It is empty and hollow.  A movie like Airplane was genuinely hilarious and funny and still evokes laughter after so many years.

I will give this movie star star While not a work of art, it is devoid of violence and sexual scenes or suggestions and good for a family to watch on DVD together.